EA McDonald

E A McDONALD, whose doings in England last season earned him a place among the great Australian bowlers, was born in Tasmania, on January 6, 1892. He was educated at Charles Street School, Launceston, but played no cricket in his schooldays. He first became associated with the game when playing for West Launceston and was always a bowler. In 1910 he was in Melbourne , and after one season with the East Melbourne Club he joined the Fitzroy, and in Pennant matches got thoroughly in touch with good class cricket. His powers were perhaps rather slow to ripen and, being still very young, he had not taken anything like a high position when the M.C.C.'s team visited Australia in 1911-12. He only played once against the Englishmen - for Victoria in the return match- and very little success rewarded him, the two wickets he took cost him 125 runs. He jumped into fame some years later by means of an extraordinary performance for Victoria against New South Wales at Sydney in January, 1919. In the first innings of New South Wales, when there was nothing in the condition of the ground to help him, he took eight wickets - six of them bowled down - for 42 runs. Still, he was not on the winning side. In the second innings the batsmen mastered him, New South Wales, with 386 to get, gaining an astonishing victory by six wickets. In the following season he bowled very well without doing anything out of the common, and though he played in three of the Test matches against the M.C.C.'s team in 1920-21 there was nothing in his record to prepare the English public for his brilliant success in this country. In going through the accounts that came to hand of the various matches one read very little about him, though much was said of Gregory and Mailey. In England, however, his position was assured from the start of the tour. He revealed his pace at the practice nets at Lord's, and after the opening match at Leicester there was no doubt as to his exceptional class. It is scarcely an exaggeration to describe him as the best bowler of his type since Lockwood, combining as he does great speed with a fine command of length and very pronounced spin. The English batsmen who had to face him were unanimous in his praise. To put the matter in a few words, he is that greatest asset any team can have - a bowler difficult to play on the most perfect wickets. The wonderful summer suited him, but from what he made the ball do on a damaged pitch against Lancashire at Liverpool it seems safe to conclude that in an ordinary English season he would have been by far the most deadly of the Australian bowlers. On that particular occasion at Liverpool he slackened his pace to suit the condition of the ground and the Lancashire batsmen found his off-break unplayable.

© John Wisden & Co